Falcao swoops to end Brazil’s winning streak: 4 things we learned from Colombia vs Brazil

Radamel Falcao secured what could be a vital point in the South American qualifying group after coming from a goal down against Brazil.

Brazil have already secured top spot in the South American World Cup qualifying group with three games to spare, so they can be forgiven for a slightly lax performance after going a goal ahead.

Despite Willian’s fine strike to put the visitors in front, Colombia were arguably the better of the two nations and it wasn’t long until they equalised.

Eleven minutes after the restart, their hard work paid off as Radamel Falcao stooped low to guide Santiago Arias’ superb cross past Alisson.

Colombia had a chance to win the game from a set piece, but James Rodriguez’s free-kick cannoned back off the post.

The 1-1 draw ended Brazil’s nine-game winning streak and saw Colombia move one point behind Uruguay in second.

Here are five things we learned from Barranquilla.

  1. 1 Davinson Sanchez is power personified

    Eyebrows were raised when Tottenham broke their transfer record to bring Davinson Sanchez to north London in a £38m deal from Ajax, but last night's evidence helped explain the logic behind it.

    Mauricio Pochettino saw something in Sanchez and his performance against Brazil epitomised what that something was.

    The 21-year-old was more than comfortable defending against the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Willian and personified strength, pace and power. Sanchez is a strong, aggressive centre-back, crucially with an extra yard of pace, which adds a fascinating element to his game.

    One moment in particular captured this. As Dani Alves broke forwards on the right, Sanchez uses his speed to catch up and consequently his strength to dispossess the PSG right back.

    Spurs could well have one of the game's best young centre-backs on their books.

  2. 2 Radamel Falcao back to his best

    After 52 goals in 68 games for Atletico Madrid in a two-year spell, Radamel Falcao's career took a turn for the worst after the striker ruptured his ACL in 2014.

    Two loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea didn't benefit the Colombian, and it seemed the end was nigh for the Falcao we knew from Porto and Atlético.

    However, a fantastic 2016/17 has been duly succeeded by a phenomenal start to 2017/18, with Falcao scoring seven goals in four Ligue 1 games.

    To cap a remarkable transformation in fortune, Falcao scored the crucial equalising goal for Colombia last night, not only showing his technical ability to meet Arias' cross but his on-field leadership in helping to rally the team to a draw.

    It was his first in a World Cup qualifier in four years.

    Falcao isn't done just yet, and it's clear he can still be both his club and country's big-game player.

  3. 3 Willian grows more important

    Although he spent a majority of last season making substitute appearances, as Antonio Conte preferred a trident of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, and Pedro, Willian has a great influence at Chelsea.

    He was voted the club's player of the season in their disastrous 2015/16 title defence and still managed eight goals and two assists last season.

    This season, Willian has started all three games and has been influential, with every good piece of play flowing through the Brazilian. He's at the centre of everything.

    It seems the same for Brazil. Despite an array of attacking talent, Willian shone against Colombia and it was his stunning strike, a first-time volley from Neymar's knockdown, that gave the Canarinho the lead.

  4. 4 Beatable Brazil

    Colombia could only draw against the Brazilians, but it was the first time in ten games that manager Tite walked away from the pitch with anything other than all three points.

    Brazil aren't as infallible as some are making out. There are weaknesses.

    For instance, once Falcao's header levelled the scores, Brazil looked vulnerable and Colombia had a spell of domination, with James Rodriguez almost putting them ahead as his free-kick hit the post.

    Although Brazil did ultimately weather the storm, the Colombians were the better nation on the night and showed Tite that there's still work to do prior to Russia.

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Oli Stein


Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016.

Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent.

Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_